Benny and his friend Griffin at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Sentenced to the Writer's Block

A friend of mine is also working on a book. It sounds like a lovely manuscript about her experiences in Korea, and there isn't a creepy killer robot in sight. Plus, she's got an entire fine arts department behind her, since she's wrapping up a graduate degree on the East Coast. Double plus, she doesn't have a toddler whining to play Finding Nemo games on her computer all the time.

However, she still has problems (insert maniacal cackle here).

Elizabeth's problems sound a bit like mine these days, which is encouraging. Soon she will undoubtedly ask: "Which of these four illustrious agents should I retain?" or "Warner wants to buy the film rights, but should I give up creative control?"

But for now, her worries sound familiar: designing the book's structure, finding time to write every day, keeping Jupiter's moons straight (oh wait, that's me). She ended up throwing out her outline and knocking out her first three chapters. Then she started talking about a prologue. Elizabeth's writing is more sophisticated than my slapstick prose, so I'm sure she can pull it off.

My prologues, on the other hand, are always awful. When I start thinking about a prologue, I lie down until the feeling goes away.

"Secret Soldiers" remains an unholy mess, with gears and wires sticking out all over. I wrote an elaborate backstory for my villain, then threw it out. I cut half of Book Three, then put everything back. Finally I decided that my book suffered from three major problems:

1. I opened the novel with the pursuit of a wanted criminal, then abandoned the chase in Book Two.

2. My main protagonist started out making decisions and taking actions, then devolved into a smartmouthed package being toted around by loony guys.

3. My villain was sort of bananas from day one. Then he moved into ominously melodramatic and ended with completely maniacal. Perhaps a little more subtlety was in order.

Oh, and No. 4: Not enough killer assassin robots! HAHAHAHAHAHA!

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